Yard Act head ‘down under’ to Laneway Festival as they work on second album

Yard Act

Yard Act will be playing at Laneway Festival in January. Photo: Supplied

After a busy summer in the United Kingdom playing a number of music festivals, Yard Act feel they have cheated the system as they prepare to head to New Zealand for Laneway.

Singer and guitarist James Smith said he and his band mates had been “incredibly busy” in recent months.

“We haven’t stopped. It’s been great, I can’t complain.

“I get to see the world, share my ideas with people … it’s fun, it’s really fun.

“I feel like I’ve cheated summer if I get to go down under and see summer all over again.”

Yard Act’s debut album The Overload was released in January, landing a number 2 album in the UK.

It smashed vinyl sales records in the process and made them one of the most talked about bands on the planet.

The band – comprising of James, Ryan Needham, Sam Shjipstone and Jay Russell – are now working on their second album.

James said he had moved away from writing anything political after the first album – feeling “beaten down” by the state of the UK and the “general consensus” of humanity.

“I think spiritually, it feels quite a look like Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys. It’s a lot more sprawling, leaning more into the stuff we love.

“It feels at the moment like it’s going to be a long and confused record that will disappoint critics and then be revered in 20 years times if the worlds still turning.”

Despite playing in bands for the past 10 years, James said within a year of Yard Act being together, it became apparent that something had “connected” with the world.

Being in a band could be quite punishing as they were often “thrown in vehicles” and “flung onto stages” in front of crowds, but the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Elton John and Mad Professor made it worthwhile.

“We’re just these four idiots from Leeds that have been knocking around, making stupid songs in our bedrooms… I still don’t understand it,” James said.

It was an “absolute honour” and “genuinely humbling” that such artists knew who they were, he said.

James said he and the band were really excited to be heading down to New Zealand to play at Laneway Festival.

Laneway will take place at Auckland’s Western Springs on 30 January, 2023.

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